First Division - Day 13

Betis 2 - Rayo Vallecano 0

Betis: Prats; Cañas, Rivas, Belenguer (Amato 54'), Luis Fernández; Ito, Benjamín (Gudjonsson 75'); Joaquín, Capi, Denilson (Dani 77'); Joao Tomas. 4-2-3-1.
Rayo: Lopetegui; Alcázar, Hernández, De Quintana, Graff; Helder, Iván Iglesias (Roy 65'); Glaucio, Peragón (Mainz 80'), Arteaga; Bolic. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Betis: Benjamín, Denilson for Juanito, Mingo / Rayo: Alcázar for Corino.

1-0. 54. Joao Tomas. Headed Joaquín's cross from right wing down past keeper.
2-0. 60. Amato (penalty). After Hernández handled ball thinking play was stopped.

Betis move back up to fifth after a controversial win against bottom club Rayo Vallecano. It was a vital victory for Juande Ramos's team, who had gone off the boil recently after being rocked by a scandal over a Halloween party. One of the hosts of the party Benjamín was however given a chance to rejoin the fold, starting for the first time this season in midfield, and Denilson returned from international duty to add his own particular style to the game. Their opponents Rayo were trying to build on a good home win the week before, and Gregorio Manzano named a virtually unchanged side, with new signing Elvir Baljic once again left on the bench. Betis dominated the first half, but Rayo came back with a couple of chances near to the interval. The turning point in the game came though when Rayo's Arteaga got himself sent off early in the second half for a second yellow card after tripping Spanish under 21 international Joaquín.

Portugal's Joao Tomas headed the home side into the lead soon afterwards, Joaquín taking advantage of the resulting gap down the flank to get to the by-line and send over a pinpoint cross. Referee Undiano Mallenco then awarded a controversial penalty to Betis after Hernández handled in the area, the French defender stopping the ball thinking it had gone out of play. However the referee ruled that it had not, and Amato scored from the spot. Television pictures clearly showed afterwards however that Denilson had let the ball run over the line before sending in his cross. It was a killer blow for Rayo, who never came back from the incident. In fact so upset was Rayo club president Teresa Rivero over that and the general lack of support that the club has from home fans, that she and her husband are seriously considering selling out, which could signal a gloomy future for the Madrid based side, already falling behind their direct rivals in the struggle for survival.